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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Dewirix

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_________________________

Table of Contents


The first decade: 1836-1845

  1. The Empire of Japan – 1821-1836
  2. 1836: The continuation of politics
  3. 1837: Entangling alliances
  4. 1838: Family ties
  5. 1839: The means of production
  6. 1840: The Court goes to the country
  7. 1841: Si vis pacem
  8. 1842: Things fall apart
  9. 1843: The end of an era
  10. 1844: The fortunes of war
  11. 1845: The new order
  12. 1836-1846: State of the Nation

The second decade: 1846-1855

  1. 1846: The threat from the north
  2. 1847: The Russian war
  3. 1848: The long campaign
  4. 1849: Loyalists and patriots
  5. 1850: The root of all evil
  6. 1851: Hearts and minds
  7. 1852: The Loyalists at bay
  8. 1853: Splendid isolation
  9. 1854: Above the fray
  10. 1855: The fruits of peace
  11. 1846-1856: State of the Nation

The third decade: 1856-1865

  1. 1856: Patriotism, Peace and Prosperity
  2. 1857: The price of peace
  3. 1858: Differences of opinion
  4. 1859: Oyama vindicated

_________________________​
Introduction

Welcome to my first Victoria 2 AAR, and my second AAR of any kind. In fact, a better way of describing it would be to call it the continuation of my first AAR. When I began writing the Yamato destiny, back in August last year, I conceived of it as a relatively quick gameplay-style "here's some cool things that happened in EU3" affair. Over the length of the telling it evolved into a history book format that tried to provide a rationale for the events of the game. This time around I'll try to be more consistent at picking a style and sticking with it. I'll be starting off in a history-book style, and hopefully finishing in the same way. :)

I started the original game with half a mind on eventual conversion to Victoria 2. It's one of the reasons that I limited my expansion to China and those lands that were free to colonise. Even with just these it's clear that Japan - a civilised and populous empire in 1836 - is a major power right from the start. For those of you looking for a tale of victory against the odds I'd instead point you at one of the many excellent examples of that type of game.

So this AAR will look at how Japan goes about maintaining her role as top nation in a new era. In many ways the game is a British Empire AAR with the numbers filed off. Japan will attempt to stay true to its principles, honour its alliances and protect its friends. I'm also going to attempt to play the parties as I think they would act in a given situation. The Liberals will try to keep taxes low, an anti-military party will reduce military spending in peacetime and jingoists will never pass up a CB.

From a technical perspective, the version of the game I’m playing is one that I’ve modified myself. That said, I've used the excellent EU3 Savegame Editor by comagoosie and have made extensive use of the province mapping done by members of the EU3toVic2 Converter Project team. Any errors that have crept in along the way are my fault rather than theirs. The game itself is running on the 1.4 beta patch of the 27th June (EDIT: updated to the September 26th beta).

Gameplay wise, I promise not to abuse the save and reload system, nor edit the savefile for my benefit - although I reserve the right to tinker about in the interest of fixing things or in order to produce a more plausible outcome.

I'll try to ensure that the AAR is updated regularly, but can't promise anything more certain than that. This is particularly true of the next month or so as my wife and I are expecting our first child and after he arrives it's pretty much a case of all timetables go out the window. On the other hand, I won't be out socialising for a while, so it might have a positive effect on my posting frequency.

I hope people enjoy reading!

_________________________​
Play the conversion

For anyone interested in giving this conversion a go themselves, I've attached it here as a zip file. To install, place it in the mod sub-folder of your Victoria 2 folder, e.g. C:\Victoria 2\mod\Yamato Mod

I'm using JSGME to load and unload the mod, which is handy as you can disable it when you want to play the vanilla game.

The mod itself has been tested on version 1.4 beta of 27th June. I haven't tried it on the later betas, but they should work as long as they don't change text.csv in the localisation folder. If they do, it's fairly quick to fix, so let me know if you trying to get it to work.
 
Last edited:

Dewirix

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The Empire of Japan – 1821-1836

The eighteenth century had been a time of constant turmoil for Japan. In less than one hundred years the Empire had been transformed from a traditional East Asian state to a radical opponent of European dominance, first regionally and then internationally. Under the reform-minded Emperor Higashiyama Japan had fought what were to be termed the first “World Wars”, initially against the British and then against Austria, involving the dispatch of troops to Africa, the Americas and to Europe itself.

The Great Austrian War had seen Japan triumph against one of the most powerful states in the world, but the cost in blood and treasure had led many to question the purpose behind such adventures. Higashiyama’s death in late 1797 marked a turning point in the Empire’s history. After 27 years of increasingly wilful rule, and a century in which traditional dogma was forced to confront new ideals of liberty and constitutionalism, the Japanese nobility were no longer willing to accord unquestioning loyalty to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

The accession of Emperor Kashiwabara was accompanied by profound changes in the structure of Japan’s government, which saw the nobility’s advisory role formalised with the creation of the Imperial Diet and a supervisory Cabinet, headed by a prime minister. The change was made the easier by Kashiwabara’s own devotion to his father, whose ideals had increasingly led him to question the basis of the very monarchy he embodied. While the conservative elements amongst the nobility had not liked the idea of diluting the power of the Emperor, it was a preferable option to the continued hazards of war.


State of the Nation: 1836

The Home Islands and China

For the vast majority of Japan’s population the nineteenth century had proceeded peacefully. The Empire’s dominance in Asia was, if not unchallenged, little threatened by the less developed states to its south and west.

The north remained more of a concern. In the early century Castile had established a small colonial outpost on the northern bank of the Heilong and had been steadily pushing further inland. Although this development was a challenge to the Higashiyama doctrine of resistance to European expansion, the mood in Japan was hardly likely to favour a war on so idealistic a pretext. In addition, relations with Castile were much better than those with the other Great Powers save France.



Lastly, although a Castilian presence in the north was unwelcome it was thought preferable to sharing a border with Russia, whose colonists had pressed steadily eastwards over the centuries and had already penetrated further than Lake Baikal on the border with Manchukuo. The poor state of Franco-Russian relations had meant that Japan’s friendship with the former came at the expense of relations with the latter, while the Russian army was the largest fighting force in the world, her soldiers outnumbering Japan’s by three to one.


The South Seas

Whereas the South Seas had once been Japan’s to do with as it pleased, recent decades had seen an increasing European presence. As yet, the colonial activities of all states, the Empire included, were mainly limited to coastal settlements, but in New China Japan had already breached the mountains that had barred the way to the interior. For now however the inhospitable nature of the terrain beyond prevented further exploitation.



Both New China and New Japan were shared between the Empire, the French and Castile. Although the Empire still claimed notional sovereignty over the entirety of both landmasses it seemed likely that some accommodation would have to be reached with the two powers, especially given that they represented Japan’s closest European friends. In any case, unless some way could be found to expand the current settlements it seemed likely that affairs would be allowed to remain as they were.


The Great Eastlands

If competition for land was hardly an issue in the South Seas, in the Great Eastlands it was an even more minor concern. Japan held virtually the entire western coast of the continent from the uninhabited north to the border with Mexico – a country that owed its existence to the Empire after its liberation in the war with Britain.

Japanese explorers had travelled widely through the interior of the Eastlands, and while the mountains and deserts between the coast and the plains beyond posed an even greater challenge than those in New China, the centre of the continent was much more hospitable. Japan was aware that the Europeans had established a considerable presence on the east coast, but it was thought that it would be years before the Empire shared a border with anyone other than Mexico.



The Great Eastlands offered almost unlimited amounts of land to settlers from the crowded Home Islands and China. For Japan, shut out of peaceful expansion in Africa, the continent was there for the taking.


Foreign Affairs

While superficially little had changed since the end of the Great Austrian War in 1800, the European powers had taken the lessons of the conflict to heart. As late as 1820, Japan’s military had dominated its foes, but its success had also produced imitators. The qualitative gap between the Empire and the other European powers had largely been erased as a decade and a half of peace had dulled Japan’s fighting qualities even as others had patiently honed theirs.

The centrepiece to Japan’s European strategy was still the Milanese alliance. Milan commanded the Alpine passes that connected Italy to Austria and provided safe quarters for 45,000 Japanese troops and over half of the navy’s warships and transports. From Milan, the Empire could check Austrian revanchism, at least in theory.





However, Austria had recovered more swiftly from the war than anyone at the time had thought possible. Although not a power on the same scale as France or Russia, Austria dominated central Europe. Given the abysmal relations between Austria and Japan it was thought vital to the Empire’s interests to prevent the former from expanding its grasp further.

Internationally, the two major threats to Japan’s security came from the eastwards expansion of Russia and from the British Empire. Japan and Britain had last clashed in the late eighteenth century, as a result of which Mexico, Holland, Northumberland, Ireland and Aceh had been liberated.



However, Britain’s holdings in the Great Eastlands, to the south of Mexico and in Peru were substantial and could threaten Japan’s own ambitions on the continent.

By 1836 the Empire was recognised as the most powerful state on the international stage. The Japanese navy dominated the seas from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, and although the army was small in comparison to that of Russia or France no other state had anything like Japan’s potential reserves.

Added to this, the Empire’s great victories in the wars of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century and its rapid technical progress had cemented its place as the most renowned of all the Great Powers. For other states, “how will Japan respond?” was the foremost question when planning a foreign adventure.



Only in industry did Japan lag behind its rivals. Even as Japanese power was being extended to Europe, capitalists from that same continent were developing new modes of production that relied on concentrating output in a single large facility and supplementing human and animal-power with machinery driven by wind, water, and increasingly the new technology of steam.

For Japan, shortage of labour had never been a factor and it was generally accepted that replacing manpower with expensive machinery was a poor use of capital, especially when the same money could be used to simply hire more workers and increase output still further. However, the day was fast approaching when the new factory system could compete with traditional production on its own terms.


Economy and Society

Like her rivals, Japan had recently mastered the use of steam power and was now able to construct static engines to drive looms, sawmills and other industrial enterprises. Some had even suggested that lighter models could be made mobile by placing them on rails directly and moving them along with their cargo, removing the need for cables and expanding the range and practicality of such engines immensely.

During the 1820s and early 1830s Japan’s technological lead had been eroded to the point where the Empire was merely one of a number of civilised states, rather than the apex of progress that it had been. Scientific endeavour was increasingly coming to rely on a multitude of individual, incremental steps rather than the work of a few great thinkers, and this had meant that Japan’s focus on a handful of elite universities and little else was beginning to appear outmoded.



In terms of the military, commerce, industry and culture Japan was – for now – on a par with any of the Great Powers. Regaining the Empire’s lead would depend upon broadening the educational base to reach out to that mass of subjects who as yet could hardly read, let alone extend the boundaries of human knowledge.

The population of Japan was overwhelmingly composed of farmers and labourers. A vast rural working class of some 90 million men, conservative in outlook and for the most part unaffected by the reforms that had so profoundly altered the Imperial elite in the eighteenth century. For most, the rhythm of life had altered little more quickly in the nineteenth century than in those that preceded it, and their outlooks were still dominated by the annual routines of sowing, harvesting and taking produce to market.

For such as these the Great Austrian War was a tale that was known, but scarcely believed or triumphalised. Wars and soldiers were burdens that had to be borne, rather than a chance to win glory and honour.

This was view that was becoming more widely shared by the Empire’s political class. During the 1830s the party of the Court – representing the majority of the nobility who accepted the Kashiwabara reforms – had split in two over Japan’s continued European presence. The traditionalists were of the view that the Milanese alliance was the outerwork of Japan’s defences, guarding against an Austrian resurgence in the same way that the alliance with Northumberland was a check against British revanchism.



Opponents of this policy questioned the need to spend so much time, effort and treasure keeping troops on a continent thousands of miles distant from the Home Islands. They had been steadily gaining the upper hand in the Diet to the point where by 1836 they constituted a plurality of deputies. Only the Emperor’s support of his prime ministers, and some deft coalition-building with the Liberals had kept the court party in power as long as this. The coming election campaign looked certain to extend the isolationist movement’s influence.

Whatever the political outlook, financially the Empire was on as sound a footing as it ever had been. Japan’s projected income exceeded its budgetary obligations by over one million pounds a year and the government held sufficient reserves to cover almost two months of normal expenses.



It was not all good news however: the art of budgetary forecasting was as yet a young discipline, and previous years’ estimates had proved wildly optimistic. Even so, barring a major war the Empire looked capable of balancing the books for the foreseeable future.

State of Japan on 1 January 1836:
 

Avindian

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Glad to see you're continuing with this; I'd advise letting the good folks at the converter project what you're doing so they can monitor it!

With all of these conversion AARs (you and tamius23) I might need to dust off my Republic of Russia game!
 

tamius23

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I have to follow this, don't I? :)
 

Blxz

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As per my PM, I am seriously interested in this and was so happy when I saw the post that you had started. Added you to my browser favourites. Keep up the good work, and loved the intro BTW.
 

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Nice to see this continue from eu3. Though I just noticed that Milan doesn't even have the city of Milan.
 

Malurous

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I really shouldn't start following any more AARs right now... But with this one, considering the predecessor, who can resist! :D

Nice overview, the future should be interesting with the precarious situations with the great power relations and the political factions.
 

unmerged(205558)

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I can't resist following this one... But it's predecessor was so good... :D
 

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I just finished your previous AAR and it was great! I can't wait to see what Japan gets up to in Vicky.
 

Nikolai

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My, my... This is a very good start! Can't wait to read more about your Japanese exploits!
 

Selzro

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I'm always fascinated by savegame conversions, and this one looks particularly interesting (not to mention well-written)! I'll have to gradually read the HTTT part now...
 

Blxz

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I actually would like to get a hold of that save file if you don't mind... Have you changed anything fundamental about the game or would I just be able to stick it in and fire it up? Is this possible?
 

Dewirix

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this should be fascinating, especially given the very different dynamic a powerful Japan in 1936 will introduce into the game dynamics
Indeed. The 1902 Alliance between the UK and Japan was an aggravating factor in the First World War. This time round we can start destabilising things from day one! :)

Consider me interested
Excellent. Glad to have you aboard.

Glad to see you're continuing with this; I'd advise letting the good folks at the converter project what you're doing so they can monitor it!

With all of these conversion AARs (you and tamius23) I might need to dust off my Republic of Russia game!
This wasn't converted via the project, but I have used a lot of the groundwork they laid. Glad to see you've started your own post-EU3 AAR too.

still here
Hope you stick around longer. :)

I have to follow this, don't I? :)
Yes!

Also good.

Read through all of your EU3 one in one day (today)! Look forward to this one.
I have a feeling this AAR is going to be very much longer than the EU3 one. Hopefully I can find things to keep it interesting.

Nice to see this continue from eu3. Though I just noticed that Milan doesn't even have the city of Milan.
Milan is pretty much a Japanese creation having been carved out of bits of Austria and Modena. I'd forgot they didn't hold Milan until you pointed it out though, and we're certainly not going to help them get it back from the French.

I really shouldn't start following any more AARs right now... But with this one, considering the predecessor, who can resist! :D

Nice overview, the future should be interesting with the precarious situations with the great power relations and the political factions.
I might have tied my hands if the Isolationists win the next election (in 1839 I think) and stop me from having any fun. Still, I'm sure I can work something out. Great Power relations are basically screwed because everyone hates everyone else (except France and I, who get on fine). Blame EU3's penalties for different religions for a lot of that.

I can't resist following this one... But it's predecessor was so good... :D
Thanks. Hope this will also be to your liking.

I just finished your previous AAR and it was great! I can't wait to see what Japan gets up to in Vicky.
My, my... This is a very good start! Can't wait to read more about your Japanese exploits!
Unlike the last AAR I don't really have too much idea what we're going to do. Trying to keep my POPs happy, being true to the ideals of the party in power (or the Emperor, who's still nominally running the show) and honouring commitments will hopefully keep me busy.

I'm always fascinated by savegame conversions, and this one looks particularly interesting (not to mention well-written)! I'll have to gradually read the HTTT part now...
The first part's a bit odd as I wasn't too sure exactly what kind of AAR I was writing when I started. That's why I cover about 300 years in three pages and then take another 10 to finish the story. Good to have you following.

I actually would like to get a hold of that save file if you don't mind... Have you changed anything fundamental about the game or would I just be able to stick it in and fire it up? Is this possible?
It's a mod folder rather than a save file, but if you use something like JSGME you can enable and disable it at will. I'll add the folder as an attachment to the first post. PM me if you need details on how to get it working.

This looks great.
Thanks. Hope I can keep up the good impression.
 
Last edited:

Dewirix

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1836: The continuation of politics

The domestic agenda

This country can gain nothing by war, and in the present state of her prosperous commerce, shared by other Powers, we are possessed of more colonies than we want for our own sake, and retain many of them solely for the purpose of preserving the balance of power in Europe, and preventing those frequent contests which for centuries has devastated parts of Asia. Peace is our great object; and I firmly believe, there are no better means for maintaining peace in Europe, than that we should retain that maritime superiority for which so much blood and treasure has been expended.
The first session of the Imperial Diet in any year was marked by the State Opening, at which the Emperor set out the policies that his government would pursue over the following twelve months. In 1836, Kashiwabara appeared as a frail shadow of the man who had ascended the throne 39 years before, but the old Emperor was as determined as ever to remain faithful to the policies that he had inherited from his illustrious father.



The 1836 Budget was notable for its expansion of education spending. As in times past Japan turned to the clergy as instruments of state policy: the government announced its intent to endow a network of religious schools to bring at least basic literacy and mathematics to the wider populace. In this way, it was hoped, Japan could begin to regain the technological lead it had enjoyed at the close of the eighteenth century.

Although the Ministry of Finance had predicted a large budget surplus for the year, the Cabinet had decided that there should be no immediate change to tax rates. The official reason given was that the network of new schools would surely absorb a greater proportion of income as they came into operation.



In addition, the government needed funding to modernise the Empire's naval bases. The 1836 Budget committed almost £20,000 to the repair and upgrade of facilities in nine strategic ports: from Bourbon in the west, the Home Islands in the north, New Japan in the south and finally in the Great Eastlands.



The Finance Bill also contained provisions for an expansion of Japanese colonial ventures on the eastern continent. To the north, settlers would be planted further up the coastline, while to the south they would attempt to secure the interior in the face of possible competition from Mexico - and ultimately also from the European settlements of the eastern coast.

In addition, the government had one last reason for maintaining a surplus through early 1836, but the Cabinet had agreed that this was not for public consumption and at the time an ulterior motive was never alluded to in the Diet.


Foreign affairs

The opening session of the Diet coincided with diplomatic communiqués reaching Japan concerning the outbreak of war in Ireland and between the Ottomans and Yemen.



Spring brought further news: France had declared its intent to recover the break-away province of Lorraine, while Russia sought to take advantage of the Ottoman's preoccupation with events on their southern border by invading with the intent of detaching Azerbaijan.

Ambassadors from Gelre - a long-time ally of Japan which had been instrumental in the Empire's efforts to westernise - attended a packed meeting of the Diet where deputies cheered the announcement that the little Dutch nation had formally expelled the British chargé d’affaires who had sought to rule their country as a viceroy.



More worrying was the news that Austria had declared war against Bohemia. Both states were nominally a part of the Holy Roman Empire, but its grip had been weakened - perhaps fatally - by the Great Austrian War. Austria in particular had become disillusioned and instead looked to carve out a role for itself as the protector of the German nation. Unfortunately for Bohemia - a Czech dominated state with many German subjects - it appeared that the suggestions of imperial impotence were not short of the mark. The emperor - the 22-year-old Duke of Modena - did little but issue a formal protest against the actions of his far-mightier nominal vassal in Vienna.

The government's reaction to the wars was pragmatic. Japan had no alliance with any of the participants, nor reason to directly intervene in any of the wars. Even the more bellicose of the conservatives would have had to admit that the forces Japan had in Europe were more a token of intent than a serious threat to the larger powers.

However, while military might was in short supply, the deep pockets of the Empire could still be brought to bear. Ireland, Gelre, Bohemia and even the Ottomans would be subsidised at a cost to the treasury of over £11,000 per year. It was judged that Ottoman aggression against Yemen, though regrettable, was a secondary matter in comparison to checking Russian expansionism. In the case of France, the government was quick to accept the French ambassador's official account of the lead-up to the war and replied that Japan eagerly anticipated a swift and successful campaign.



The Empire’s diplomats were to find the beginning of 1836 a particularly busy period. Not content with funding foreign wars, the government had also decided to explore new avenues for extending Japan’s international reach. Although the theory of spheres of influence had been understood for decades, if not centuries, they had been overlooked by traditionally-minded Japanese statesmen. Now prime minister Ito believed that the time was right to put the idea through its paces. Thus overtures were made to the vast north Indian state of Sindh with a view to persuade it to put its resources at the Empire’s disposal.


The savage wars of peace

As other great powers were stirring themselves into action, the Court was anxious to ensure that Japan was not greatly disadvantaged by shifts in the balance of power. The rising influence of the isolationists led the Cabinet to fear that Japanese troops might have to be withdrawn from Europe, and - worse still - existing alliances repudiated.

For this reason, the Court drew up plans to seize Western Sahara from Morocco. Officially the reason behind the invasion was Morocco's inability to control piracy along its North Atlantic coasts, but the interventionists believed that a permanent Japanese possession so close to the straits of Gibraltar would allow Japan greater freedom of action even if the isolationists compelled the withdrawal of troops from Milan. In addition, the war would secure Atlantic bases for the Japanese navy, which had hitherto relied on the forbearance of allies.

In March, the Court party announced it had declared war on Morocco. The news was greeted with uproar in the Diet, with deputies protesting that they had been inadequately consulted. The government was forced to rely on support from the restorationists to pass the motion endorsing the war, at the price of closer enforcement of restrictions on the freedom of minorities within the Empire.



Three brigades of infantry and two of artillery were detached from the Army of Italy and titled the Moroccan Expeditionary Army. Japan's formidable naval presence in Europe guaranteed that the first phase of the campaign - the occupation of the Moroccan capital - was a formality.

However, the government had been much too sanguine about the likely costs of waging war at the end of thousands of miles of supply lines. The healthy surplus the budget had been running at the beginning of the year became a deficit of almost £900 a day, rapidly depleting the Empire's reserves.



Even as the treasury was struggling to deal with the costs of the war, the Japanese economy was giving out mixed signals. The experimental lumber mill the government had financed in the Great Eastlands had closed due to lack of business, but a private consortium in Osaka announced that they would use Gelren experts to build and operate a fabric factory. Whatever promise these new factories could hold for Japan's economy it would almost certainly come too late for a government that had lost more than £20,000 in the course of a month.

By July Japanese forces had secured the Moroccan capital, but the war was little nearer won. Morocco's offer of the status quo ante bellum was given serious consideration in Cabinet, but the finance minister was able to offer assurances that Japan's credit would allow the conflict to be prolonged, despite the fact that every additional day at war only increased the Empire's debt.



Some in government suggested that taxes should be raised as these could easily cover the shortfall with room to spare. However, this suggestion was rejected by prime minister Ito, who countered that to present an emergency budget to the Diet was tantamount to admitting that the war had been mishandled. Japan would borrow the funds needed until next year, when a fresh budget could be presented without provoking embarrassing questions.

So sensitive was the situation that when the First Farmers' Bank of Xuzhou was accused of anti-Japanese practices the Cabinet vetoed suggestions that it should be nationalised.



The idea that money was in such short supply as to cause the government to ignore due process had to be avoided at all costs. Besides this, prime minister Ito ruefully remarked that the money gained would only pay for 12 hours of fighting.

With the situation looking bleak the government could only hope that sufficient credit could be found to cover the Empire’s outgoings and the rapidly-increasing interest payments. However, even as the debt passed £75,000 and interest payments topped £50 a day it was announced that gold had been discovered in Caozhou.



As workers flooded to exploit the find, tax receipts responded immediately. By mid-September the treasury was showing a surplus of over £200 per day. The prime minister’s stance had been vindicated and for now the war could continue without fear of economic ruin.

While the Cabinet were celebrating their good fortune the Moroccan expedition was fighting for its life. Having disembarked in Western Sahara to begin their occupation of the province, a column of 3,000 soldiers had been dispatched to Agadir. Having seen no sign of Moroccan opposition so far, the expedition’s leaders were taken aback when an army of 18,000 ambushed the much smaller Japanese detachment.



Fortunately, the 3,000 men of the Agadir column were able to get messengers through to summon the help of their comrades on the coast. Imperial troops gave battle at a numerical disadvantage, but their superior fighting spirit allowed them to repulse the attack.

Following the victory at Agadir the remaining Moroccan troops were pursued, again defeated and finally forced to surrender completely. Although sources reported that Morocco had still more men somewhere it appeared that nothing could stop the occupation of the Western Sahara and ultimate victory.

Even as news of the victory at Agadir was reaching Japan the Cabinet were faced with a fresh crisis. In May, Castile had gone to war with Kongo, a fact which in itself meant little. However, the war precipitated the bankruptcy of the African state, much to the outrage of Japanese bondholders.

The government felt itself honour-bound to respond and authorised a punitive expedition. A further 15,000 men were detached from the Army of Italy as the Kongo Expeditionary Army. However, the force had not yet cleared the Straits of Gibraltar when the news reached them that Kongo had ceased to exist.



Castile naturally held that Kongo’s debts could not be passed to the country’s new masters, and the Cabinet did not want to make too much of the fact that they had been effectively financing a war against a friendly power. Flush with success from Morocco and with gold from Caozhou, the treasury undertook to reimburse the bondholders from its own coffers. The men of the Kongo expedition were diverted to the Moroccan war.


The home front

While the government seemed triumphant in its endeavours abroad, at home the picture was not quite so rosy. In July, as the government was driving itself into a panic over the debt, an outbreak of cholera in Jiading threatened to kill thousands.



Although the Cabinet did what it could to quarantine the province it was clear that the outbreak was not their highest priority. The war and the financial crisis it had precipitated were still foremost in its collective thoughts, and whatever impact the outbreak would have on the Empire’s population would be minor to say the least.

The new education policies also came in for criticism, especially amongst the Chinese of Runing, who claimed that they were discriminated against by a curriculum that focused on Japanese glories and prowess.


Anxious to avoid shutting out a group which constituted more than five times as many subjects as did Japanese citizens, the government ordered that accommodation be made for local sensibilities. Although this proved immediately beneficial in terms of access to learning, its longer term consequences worried some in the Diet.

The place of non-Japanese subjects within the Empire was an issue that had caused some concern to liberal-minded politicians, including Emperor Higashiyama, whose concern for freeing the oppressed abroad had sat uncomfortably with his position as head of an Empire in which the Japanese constituted a tiny, privileged minority.



Not content with the concessions to the education system, a Chinese poet in Runing published a “Hymn to the Middle Kingdom” a tragic epic telling of the chaos and shame occasioned by the fall of the Ming dynasty in the fifteenth century. The poem itself was dismissed as being of little literary merit, with a questionable grasp of historical facts, but nevertheless proved popular amongst the newly literate classes of the province.

In an attempt to encourage the adoption of Japanese customs, the government ordered that members of the Zhuang peoples in Guilin be prevented from buying or selling property unless they passed a conformity test to be administered by local officials. The government would study the outcome of this experiment intently, although some of the more liberal members of the Diet questioned – if not its legality – its morality.


The new year

Come 1837 and the new appointments to the Diet saw gains for both the Court and the isolationists as pragmatic liberals and Restorationists threw in their lot with the parties that could get things done – and also further ambitious deputies’ careers.

The war in Morocco continued, but since the major battles of the Agadir campaign had ended it looked like it would soon produce a victory for the government.



In Europe, the British had failed to make headway against either Gelre or Ireland, while the latter had succeeded in occupying British-held Dublin. If the progress of the wars against Britain were cause for satisfaction, the success enjoyed by Austria in its onslaught against Bohemia was more of a worry.